After losing two matches to the weather, the #73 women’s tennis team goes on the road this weekend, hoping for bluer skies and better fortunes.
UCSB (2-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big West) was forced to cancel last weekend’s matches against Northridge and Cal Poly after days of rain left the courts unplayable. Assuming weather permits, the Gauchos will play three road matches in three days against Saint Mary’s, the University of San Francisco, and Pacific.
Nothing will come easy for the Gauchos this weekend, as Saint Mary’s is 5-1, having lost only to #17 Cal. USF, at 3-2, is the weakest of the three. Pacific (7-1 overall, 2-0 Big West) boasts the #67 singles player in the nation in Vana Mrazovic, who will challenge junior Marielle Gruenig in the #1 spot.
The Gauchos are undefeated in doubles matches this season and have seen consistently strong play from all six starters. Their only defeat this season was a 4-2 rain-shortened match against #68 Irvine, in which the doubles match was not played. Strong doubles play will be important this weekend, as Saint Mary’s and Pacific both bring skilled singles lineups into their matches, making it difficult for any team to win four out of six to get the victory if it loses the doubles point.
Head Coach Pete Kirkwood should feel less pressure knowing his team also brings a strong singles lineup to the table. Against Santa Clara, when juniors #2 Chelsea Glynn and #3 Andrea Pintar struggled, the Gauchos’ #4 through #6 starters dominated in route to a 5-2 victory. Glynn and Pintar delivered the Gauchos’ points in the 4-2 loss after freshman Charlotte Scatliffe and juniors Leslie Damion and Mio Fukushima lost their matches against Irvine.
In the first three games of the season, Gruenig’s success has paralleled that of the team. In UCSB’s victories over Riverside and Santa Clara, Gruenig won her matches in straight sets. In the loss to Irvine, Gruenig was defeated 6-1 and 6-4.